The Stanford Cardinal struggled in their first step up in competition last night, falling to the Murray State Racers 55-52. The layout of the 2010 76 Classic provides the Cardinal with a quick return game and shot at redemption as they face the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in the semifinal of the consolation bracket. Tulsa lost to UNLV 80-71 in their first round game last night.
Tulsa brings a different sort of challenge to the Cardinal tonight at 8:30pm pacific. Tulsa has a very strong 1-4 that includes a mix of experience and size. Tulsa has four players averaging 11 or more points per game. Justin Hurtt leads the team with 17.8 points per game, followed by Steven Idlet and Scottie Haralson at 15.0 per game, and Jordan Clarkson at 11.8 per game.
The problem for Tulsa is that they have almost no depth after that. Their next best scorer is at 4.5 points per game. More importantly, after those first four, the minutes also drop considerably. Those first four play between 24.5 and 32.8 minutes per game. They get 25 minutes from junior Joe Richard and he leads the team with 6.0 rebounds per game, but he’s not a scoring threat. After those five they get 15 minutes from thee guys, but again none has developed into a strong scoring threat off the bench at this point in the season.
The Cardinal are a young team that will make plenty of mistakes, but the benefit they do have is that they could potentially wear down the Golden Hurricane. In their loss last night against UNLV, Tulsa hung close early but the Rebels tenacious defense and depth wore down the thing Tulsa squad. Having to play a second straight game certainly won’t benefit the thin Golden Hurricane. If Stanford wants to get a quality win early in the season, they need to use their youth and deep rotation to wear down Tulsa and force them to make mistakes.